With up to 14 players (pending player options) potentially under contract for the Celtics heading into the 2020-21 season, Danny Ainge has a lot of options this offseason as he tries to improve his roster and build the Celtics into a formidable contender.
The crowded depth chart indicates consolidation is an option Boston’s front office is going to need to explore. There is not going to be enough room for everyone to play regular minutes in a healthy rotation, and there are necessary improvements that need to be made to bolster depth after a disappointing finish in the Eastern Conference Finals.
To sort through it all, let’s take a closer look at the team’s roster in part 3 of the 2020 Celtics trade value power rankings. We’ll complete the full list in coming days but you can catch up by checking out Part 1 looking at spots No. 14-11 and also the value of the young guys in spots No. 10-8 in Part 2.
Criteria: This isn’t simply ranking the best-to-worst players on the roster. There is significantly more that goes into a player’s trade value around the league than just talent (although that’s important). A player’s age, contract situation and injury history are all vital factors. Multiple scouts from around the league were consulted as this list was put together.
7. Grant Williams
Remaining contract: Three years, $9.4 million (team options for final two seasons)
2019-20 stats: 3.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 15.1 mpg, 41.2% FG, 25% 3pt (69 games)
Overview: Amid a 2019-20 roster that featured seven rookies on the C’s roster, Williams was the one who panned out the most in year one. His all-around numbers are largely underwhelming but the seeds for a solid rotation big for years to come have already been planted. He’s shown the ability to play both defensive big spots with success already as the Celtics were considerably better as a defensive unit when Williams was on the floor in both the regular season and the postseason. His size (6-foot-6) can be a big drawback against imposing athletic bigs, but his ability to switch onto smaller players and hold his own was instrumental throughout Boston’s run to the East Finals. Williams’ defensive awareness and IQ should only improve with age so it’s a big hit for the front office to lock in that in with the late first-round pick earning just over nine million dollars for the next three seasons.
What will limit Williams’ value around the league beyond his size limitations is his offensive game. His 3-point shooting slump to start the season (0-of-25) dragged down his perimeter shooting numbers all year but he ended the season on a very high note to build on (10-of-17) from 3 in the postseason. The question now as Williams gets deeper into his 20s is whether he can turn into more of an offensive threat both on the perimeter and at the basket to keep opposing defenses honest. He’s a smart player that had one of the lowest usage rates on the team so he’s not going to be taking any bad shots most nights. However, remaining too passive (7.3 FGA/36 minutes) can be used against him as well. If he can maintain more consistency from beyond the arc and become more potent of a finisher in the paint, that could lead him into developing into a potential starter or high usage big off the bench for Boston or any team around the league.
For now, the Celtics will likely keep him around in hopes he can develop that game more while maintaining a low price tag but if he has a sophomore breakout in year two, he could be a crucial sweetener in any trade for the C’s if they are targeting a win-now upgrade. For now, he’s done what many of his younger teammates have failed to do after their first year in the league: Maintain the value from his draft spot.
What could Celtics get for him? A late-first round pick or another rookie-scale player with question marks. Could also be a useful sweetener in a multi-player deal for Boston.
6. Daniel Theis
Remaining contract: One year, $5 million (non-guaranteed)
2019-20 stats: 9.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.3 bpg, 24.1 mpg, 56.6% FG, 33% 3pt (65 games)
Overview: Amid non-rookie scale contracts around the league, Theis could probably be counted as one of the top-20 best